Broken Heart Syndrome is a heart condition caused by stressful situations or a sudden change in emotion, such as severe depression.
It is also triggered by serious physical illness or the loss of a loved one.
Fortunately, the symptoms of Broken Heart Syndrome are treatable, if detected early, and are reversible within days or weeks.
Symptoms of Broken Heart Syndrome
The signs are similar to those of a heart attack, we group the most common:
Sudden chest pain
Pain in the arms that spreads to the neck, jaw, or back
If the chest pain is persistent, or you have fainted, immediately call the Emergency Room for immediate attention.
Common causes of Broken Heart Syndrome
The exact cause is not known, it is thought that possibly the sudden increase in stress hormones, such as adrenaline, could damage the heart of some people.
It is also associated with temporary constriction of some of the heart's arteries, but is often preceded by:
An intense emotion, such as a serious illness (such as an asthma attack or post-COVID-19)
Severe emotional response to the death or loss of a loved one
And on rare occasions it can also be due to:
Some medications used to treat anxiety
Certain nasal decongestants
Illicit drug use
That is why it is very important to never self-medicate and better talk to your doctor about the possible risks and side effects.
The known factors of Broken Heart Syndrome are:
Sex: It is more common in women than in men
Age: It is more common in people over 50 years of age.
Health: If you have a history of a psychological disorder such as anxiety or depression, the risk may be higher
Broken Heart Syndrome Complications
It is a condition that, if detected in time, does not generate pertinent effects, but if it is not detected in time, it can present serious complications such as:
How to prevent Broken Heart Syndrome?
Many Cardiologists recommend a treatment based on beta-blockers to prevent severe damage to the heart.
Tests to Diagnose Broken Heart Syndrome
Your doctor will typically do a complete physical exam and ask questions about your symptoms, medical history, and whether you've had any recent stress or loss. Usually, due to symptoms, they are seen in the ER and referred to a Cardiologist.
The tests that may be performed are also the following:
And thus determine exactly the cause, the damage and the treatment to follow.
Broken Heart Syndrome Treatment
There is no standard treatment, as long as the diagnosis is not clear, the treatment is very similar to that of a Heart Attack.
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